Fish News: Big Fish in the Baltimore Channel

Fish News
Big Fish in the Baltimore Channel

We have some very good news on flounder. Coast wide, a 23% reduction is being imposed. We expected some tough regulations for 2006. Instead, we may go the other way. The estimated catch in 2005 was well below target for Virginia's recreational anglers. This year we are looking at flounder regulations about the same as 2005 or maybe even relaxed a bit more. Striped bass continue to keep anglers guessing. At times, it seems to be busting loose and then it will slow up again. In general, a lot of fish are being caught to the south. Fewer, but larger fish are being caught to the north. The last day of the bay season saw good catches of big fish in the buoy 36 area of the Baltimore Channel. Bluefish seem to be everywhere from Wachapreague on south. Jumbo sea bass are congregated on the offshore wrecks. Tautog can be caught on structures closer to shore. An angler fishing the Triangles found them loaded up with small sea bass, below keeper size, making tog fishing difficult. You have a shot at some speckled trout in the Hot Ditch.
Jan. 2, we decided to give the rockfish a break and went out after sea bass. We caught plenty of sharks, bluefish, conger eels, and small sea bass. We also managed to bring home 76 bass, mostly in the 3-4 pound range. A number were over 4 pounds and 4 were heavy enough to earn citations. The big fish of the day was a 6 pound 15 ounce beast caught by Stephen Powell. He has a long way to go, but he has a shot at winning the state this year.
Dec. 30-31, Phillip Neill spent the night at the high rise of the CBBT. They caught rockfish to 41 inches on live eels. In the morning, they went around to Smith Island Flats where they caught more rockfish to 41 inches on trolled, rigged eels.
Dec. 31, Darren Foster ran up the ocean side of the Eastern Shore looking for rockfish. They found them off of Ship Shoal Inlet. They caught a mixture of small rockfish, nice bluefish, and the big fish of the day, a 45-inch rockfish that they released for a citation. Most importantly, Darren gave me a call and told me where the fish were. Thanks Darren.
Dec. 31, we ran up the Eastern Shore looking for some rockfish. We did not find any until we got a call from Darren Foster. Then it was non-stop action on bluefish and rockfish up to 35 inches.
Dec. 31, Frank Kearney fished in the bay between buoys 36 and 38. They caught a half dozen nice rockfish over the slot limit but could not catch any small fish to finish up their limit.
Dec. 28, Alan Meetze was fishing with Matt Rinck. Alan is new to saltwater fishing and Matt was showing him how to fish for striped bass in the ocean. Fishing was slow. They caught some small stripers and a decent bluefish north of Ship Shoal Inlet. One of the lines started to scream and they put Alan on it. When they got it to the boat they started thinking possible state record. It did not quite make it but at 58 pounds, it is a rather impressive fish for Alan's first ever citation.
Dec. 28, Charles Southall ran 30 miles south out of Rudee. They caught rockfish to 36 inches and bluefish to 32 inches.

Dr. Ken Neill, III writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association (